As an educator and mom of two, I love teaching watching young children develop into writers! It’s magical to witness a child develop an interest in letters, in the sounds letters make and eventually, in using letters to create words and meaning. Bearing witness to that “aha moment” when a child first learns how to read and write is one of the greatest joys in teaching elementary school. Here’s a few ideas to help foster the love of writing in your preschooler or elementary school aged child.
1. Read to your child every day! The best writers are avid readers. Create a daily routine of reading together at bedtime. Let your child pick a book they are interested in. Take your child with you to the bookstore or library to pick out new titles. Librarians are great at helping you find “just right” books for your child’s age and reading level.
2. Create a writing center in your home. If your child has a desk in their bedroom or playroom, that’s a great place to create your writing center. A small art table works well, too. Stock the writing center with plenty of fun writing materials like markers, crayons, pencils, pens, blank paper, construction paper in a variety of colors and paper with lines. I’ve included a link at the end of this post to free, printable story paper.
3. Find creative ways to have your child write everyday. Writing is a skill and improves with daily practice. Preschoolers who are just learning their letters love using stencils, stamps and alphabet stickers to practice learning to write their ABCs. I’ve also found white boards with brightly colored dry erase markers to be very enticing for our daughters. Kindergarteners and first graders can write very simple letters to their grandparents, to a next door neighbor, or a cousin in another state. Kids love getting mail!
4. Give your child a writing journal or diary. Kids as young as 4 will enjoy having their own writing journal. Begin by having your child dictate a story to you and ask your child to illustrate a picture to go along with it. As your child becomes more comfortable writing a few letters and eventually single words and simple sentences, encourage their efforts with what it is known as “inventive spelling.” Recognize and appreciate your child’s early efforts with writing. Celebrate your child’s writing by hanging it up on the fridge or on a bulletin board in your kitchen.
5. Let your child see you write. Teach your kids by example that writing is fun and something to look forward to each day. Let your child see you write in your journal or watch you send an email to a friend. Our daughters love to help write our weekly grocery list. Our younger daughter just turned 5 and is just beginning to write. She loves to take an empty box of cereal and copy down the spelling of “Cheerios” on the grocery list.
Here’s a few links to additional resources for teaching young children how to write.
Here’s a article written by a kindergarten teacher with great ideas. http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/classroom-solutions/2011/11/kindergarten-writing-center-action
Do you have a preschooler who is just learning to write their ABC’s? Here’s a great article on finding creative ways to teach handwriting http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/development/writing/helping-kids-learn-to-write/
Need to find a desk for your child? Here are two of my favorites. Both of these desks would work well as writing centers.
Here’s a great portable writing center from Lakeshore Learning (one of my go-to places when I’m shopping for educational toys, games, arts and crafts, etc.) http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/product/productDet.jsp?productItemID=1%2C689%2C949%2C371%2C917%2C638&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id=1408474395181113&bmUID=1386129921874
Here are two storage lazy susans that I love for keeping crayons, colored pencils, markers, etc. organized and within easy reach.
Here’s a link to free, printable story paper for beginning writers: